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By Contributed
Charlotte VanZant King 

Big River Art presents "Senior Art"



Joan Crice

This Thursday, Sept. 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Big River Art and Crafts will celebrate their September exhibit, "Oldies but Goodies," art by their octogenarian members, Joan Crice and Arlene Larison.

Arlene Larison: Arlene is one of the founding members of the Golden Art Guild. she has served as bookkeeper, treasurer and director. When being asked what she feels is one of her most important achievements, she says, "Just surviving all these years. When I was a child I thought it would be neat to live to see the year 2000."

Larison was born in a very little town, Buffalo Oklahoma, in the NW part of the state, right next to the panhandle, where she grew up on a farm. After she married, she and her husband moved frequently: Woodward and Alva, OK., Pratt, KS (these moves were for her husband to complete his degree), then nine or ten towns (that she can think of) in Central and Northern California. They had three children, each born in a different state.

After retiring, Larison and her husband became fulltime RV'ers and visited all the lower 48 states. She did at least one sketch a day during that time. They started getting tired of feeling rootless. "It's a long story but we had already ruled out anywhere but the west coast states. Oh well, I'll tell it. I didn't like the East at all. One thing, I grew up on the prairie, where one can see for miles, and in the East it was either in towns, cities, or there were trees blocking your view. I felt hemmed in....I wasn't really happy until we had at least gotten west of the Mississippi. Then somewhere in Texas, we had spent the day looking at houses, then when we pulled into our RV park for the night all we received (instead of the usual list of activities, maps, etc.) was a storm-watch map....Well, my husband's home town had had major damage, including his home, when he was in his last year of high school, and schools had too much damage to use so since the tornado was in April, they passed everyone and called it good for the year. (He always said he "Blew out of High School" because he was flunking his typing class and probably would not have passed if it had not been for the tornado). I grew up on a farm and all the barns had been destroyed at least once and the house had a bulge in the side from a previous storm. So being handed only a storm watch map really brought it all back to us, we looked at each other and said "Haven't we had enough of this in our lives already?" The next day we headed west, and didn't even think of looking for a place to live until we got to California." They started looking in Sacramento, then north, and in December 1994, Larison and her husband came to Goldendale.

"I do art because there's something within me that has to do art-I'm driven to do it. I used to get real crabby if I didn't paint frequently." A cousin who has done a little genealogy told Larison that she had found a "connection" to Thomas Eakins! Having always been drawn to landscapes and bright colors, she now works mostly in acrylics. "I started out in oils. But then I started out before anyone had ever heard of acrylics." She also makes collages by tearing up other pieces she has made that she's not happy with. She received a BA in Fine Art from Stanislaus State in Turlock, CA. "I was within one course (and a research paper) of graduating with a degree in Art History when we moved (again) and the next nearby college did not offer a degree in Art History, so I basically had to start over. I think I had way over 200 semester hours of credit when I finally made it. I was somewhere in my 40's by then." She belonged to the Central California Art League of Modesto, CA. She started the Art Club of Alturas, Ca and went back several years later and had a solo exhibit there. She has entered in juried shows whenever they were not too far away and exhibited a few years at the Trout Lake Art Festival.

In addition to Big River, Larison's work can currently be seen at The Dalles Art Center and Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River.

Joan Crice: Joan Crice has drawn for as long as she can remember. Her interest allowed her to combine her two major loves, horses and drawing. "During high school on Long Island, NY, I majored in art and even spent time plein-air painting with like-minded friends. When I graduated in 1943, I was named top artist. I planned on continuing my education in art but instead became very involved in marriage and raising my family. During this time I took craft courses with the Extension Service and art courses through Suffolk County Community College. Sprinkled through the years were clinics with artists. Special classes included copper jewelry, acid etching, silk screening, portrait and palette knife painting as well as watercolors."

Crice has also lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts. After moving to Goldendale, she put everything on hold to care for her husband. With his passing she renewed her art interests. She took tole painting classes, advancing her skills in creative techniques. She was a founding member of the Golden Art Guild and exhibited her tole ware and transitioned to fine art in the new gallery. More recently she took a color class with Jerry Yarnell of TV art show fame and studied calligraphy.


Arlene Larison

She has fun painting with friends. "We critique, create and enjoy ourselves immensely. I've exhibited at the Klickitat County Fair, State Fair in Puyallup and have taken many ribbons and awards for my works. Other shows include the Goldendale Library, the Dalles Library and have been juried in at shows in The Dalles Art Center."

Currently specializing in scratchboard, Crice particularly enjoys depicting flowers. Looking back, she is very proud of the success of the gallery. "It's one of my favorite things to think about."

By the way, on Long Island, Crice's family farm grew potatoes, which they transformed into potato chips. She worked on the potato chip line and as a supervisor. You know how petite Joan is? Well, she bred, raised, trained, and showed Morgan horses!


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